Returning From Abroad

Re-Entry Resources

  • Readjusting to life in the United States after spending time abroad can take time. This time period is the re-entry phase of the cultural adjustment curve.november-cultureshock.jpg
  • Just as you may have experienced some culture shock while adjusting to your host country, you may experience what is known as reverse culture shock when you return to the United States. You may be slow in re-acclimating to your life at home or find yourself more easily frustrated with the way things work. Though it can be challenging, know that these feelings are absolutely normal! The resources listed below are intended to help you readjust to life in the United States. 
    • CMU Counseling Center – CMU offers free and confidential counseling services for currently enrolled students. If you find yourself needing to talk to someone in a confidential manner, there are counselors that are able to assist.
    • What's Up with Culture? – This website offers great information and resources about the adjustment to life at home after being abroad. To access this information, click on the 'Module 2 – Welcome Back! Now What?' folder on the left column.
    • Life After Study Abroad – This website, hosted by, offers a variety of articles about reverse culture shock, adjusting to home, and ways to process your study abroad experience.
    • University of Minnesota Re-Entry Handbook – This downloadable PDF features some great information published by the University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center. It covers re-entry, coping with reverse culture shock as well as some great examples of incorporating your study abroad experience into resumes and cover letters.

Stay Involved

  • Many students find that the best way to get past their reverse culture shock is to share their experiences with others! Luckily, there are many opportunities for you to do this while on campus at CMU.
    • Attend re-entry events! These are a great way to meet and talk with other students who recently returned from abroad. You can share stories and hear about what others did abroad. 
    • Consider getting involved with the International Club. There are more than 700 international students on campus from more than 30 countries. You may enjoy spending time with a student from the country or region where you studied. You also can be a great resource for new international students, as you understand the adjustments they are going through as they begin their time at CMU.
    • Apply to be a Study Abroad Ambassador! Study Abroad Ambassadors help spread the word about study abroad around campus through classroom presentations, promotional activities and running the Study Abroad 101 sessions. Talking about your experience abroad to interested students is another great way to process your time abroad and help future students at the same time!
    • Volunteer at the Study Abroad Fair. Held every September, volunteers are usually needed to talk about their programs to prospective students. It's a great way to talk about your experience abroad with people who are very interested in hearing about it!
    • Join the CMU English Language Institute's Conversation Partners Program! This program will pair you with an international student who is learning English; you will meet with your partner once a week to have conversations to help improve their English-speaking abilities. These casual conversations are a great way to increase your cultural competency and interact with someone from another country.
    • Submit photos and videos to be used in Study Abroad promotional items. We are always in need of photos and videos; we use them in our printed promotional materials as well as in our social media posts. Send them to (be sure to include your name, the country you studied in, your major and where you are in the picture).

Career Resources

  • Employers today want employees with international perspectives and cultural competency. Your study abroad experience gives you an edge on these things in a competitive job market. If you aren't sure how to translate your time abroad into your resume and cover letter, check out these resources:
    • CMU Career Development Center – The CMU Career Services office is located in Ronan 240. They offer walk in advising on resumes and career guidance. You can also set up an appointment online with a career coach. They can help you maximize your study abroad experience when getting ready for the next steps after graduation.
    • CMU Writing Center – The CMU Writing Center is located on the third floor of Park Library; there are also locations in Anspach Hall and the Towers. The center is a great resource for writing cover letters and personal statements. They assist with editing, grammar, and general writing strategies, which can be helpful in finding the best way to highlight your study abroad experience in writing.
    • AIFS Student Guide to Study Abroad & Career Development – This guide offers great tips for marketing your study abroad experience and creating a toolkit of your newly acquired skills.
    • Effective Marketing of your Study Abroad Experience to Employers - offers this great resource for identifying your new cultural competencies and how you can use those in resumes and interviews.

Go Abroad Again

  • If you loved your time abroad, considering going again! There is no limit to how many times you can study abroad. Consider another program for a different length of time or search the different faculty led programs available. Check out our program search to see where else you can go!
  • If you'd like a different type of international experience, consider doing an internship abroad! Internships are another great way to explore a new country, receive credit and boost your resume for post-graduation employment.
  • Consider looking at master's programs abroad. Many students elect to pursue graduate degrees in another country. This can also give you a leg up in the job market and allow you to spend an extended amount of time in another country.
  • Teach English Abroad
    • In many countries, speaking English is becoming a necessity for competing in the global job market. This has created a demand for English teachers abroad, particularly native English-speaking teachers.
    • To teach abroad, most positions will require a bachelor's degree and a foreign language teaching credential. The acronyms for these credentials vary, but the most common are:
      • TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
      • EFL: English as a Foreign Language
      • TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language
      • ESL: English as a Second Language 
      • TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
    • CMU offers an undergraduate Certificate Program in TESOL, which will prepare you for a career teaching English abroad. Click here for more information.
    • If you want to further your career options in teaching English as a Second Language, CMU also offers a master's program in TESOL. Click here for more information.
    • CIEE Teach Abroad
      • CIEE will help place you into a teaching position abroad and secure the necessary certification and visas. They currently place teachers in China, Thailand and Chile.
  • Peace Corps
    • If you have a passion for volunteerism and want to combine that with your love of travel, consider the Peace Corps.
    • The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the US government. Peace Corps volunteers undergo two months of training before being placed in a work site abroad for a period of two years.
    • Most Peace Corps volunteers work in developing countries in fields related to social and economic development; placements can be in government, schools, non-profits, NGOs, businesses, IT, agriculture, environmental preservation and healthcare.
    • The CMU Volunteer Center runs information sessions on joining the Peace Corps regularly during the semester – check out their calendar to see when the next one is or learn more by visiting the Peace Corp website.
  • Fulbright Program
    • The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 worldwide.
    • A graduating CMU student has won a Fulbright grant nearly every year for the past five years. For more information, visit the CMU National Scholarship website and/or contact Dr. Maureen Harke at